New Experiences in Sharing God's Love

September 18 2007 / ShareHim in Kalimantan (Borneo), Jul. 13 - Jul. 28 '07 #199
by John Osborn

Personal Testimony of John Osborn.

Borneo was an adventurous trip that had several first experiences. However, I was still with the same church I love to work with. On this trip I had my first plane ride, my first time out of the United States, my first time riding a motorcycle, and my first time preaching a series of evangelistic meetings. However, even though there were so many different experiences I still enjoyed the same fellowship of fellow Seventh-day Adventist Christians that I do here in the U.S.

This was my first time out of the United States. I have done a fair amount of traveling, but it has always been within the Midwest. I had never been so far as to see the ocean, and I had never flown on a plane. On this trip, I flew over the United States and over the Pacific Ocean on a twenty-hour plane ride. It was exciting to be so far above the ground and see the earth in a totally different way and to see clouds below me instead of above. I saw beautiful cloud formations on the way from Singapore to Balikpapan.

This was not my first time preaching, but it was my first time preaching sermons that had been prepared by someone else, and it was my first time preaching an evangelistic series, and it was also my first time speaking through a translator. This was all a challenge. For some of the sermons I was able to go through and edit them, so that I was saying things in a way that made the message make sense to me. Therefore, preaching this series helped me learn to better articulate the Adventist message. I also appreciate the good experience this gave me in preaching. I had to learn how to pronounce words clearly so that the translator could get all of what I said. This also gave me experience in working with notes but still interacting with the audience. So preaching the series was a challenge, but it was work that I felt good doing and was good experience for what I want to do with my life.

This trip wasn’t all preaching. I also got to sing in the choir. I sang next to the pastor of the church who helped me learn to pronounce the Indonesian words. We sang “Stand up for Jesus”, which translates as “Berdiri Karna Yesus”. I greatly enjoy choir singing, so this was a great blessing. They ordered shirts which all had the same pattern to wear when we sang on the last Sabbath. This was the Sabbath when all the churches came together for a joint worship. We were all wearing the same shirt (called a Batik) and you could tell who was a member of my church, Makarios, by our shirts. I was proud that day to be wearing the same shirt so that I could be seen as a Makarios person. I was also happy to sing up front that Sabbath with this choir.

On the last Thursday, I was invited to go visiting with the pastor. We visited a couple children who had decided to be baptized. I asked them if they understood the meetings, and why they had chosen to be baptized. They said that they understood the meetings, and one of them said that they had chosen baptism because they wanted to be in the Kingdom of God. I also encouraged one of the women in the house to keep the Sabbath even though she was struggling with the issue because her job was at stake. Also, I answered a boy’s question on rebaptism.

After this they fed me, and I visited with the grandmother of these children, who had come from out of town, to witness the baptism of her grandchildren. She told me about how she had been worried about if there would be any jewels in her crown. So she had started inviting people to meetings and had won sixteen people over to Christ. She shared her thanks that God had enabled her to do this. She also shared her concerns about a neighbor who had died before she had a chance to be baptized, but this neighbor had asked for her prayers. She was concerned that this neighbor would not be saved because she had not been baptized, but I reassured her that if the neighbor was reaching out to Jesus to the best of her knowledge, the grace of God would still be extended to her. It was a blessing to talk with someone who had such a burden for people’s salvation.

I went out visiting the next day and watched as the pastor gave a Bible study on the Sabbath Day. After he gave the Bible study, I shared a short testimony about what the Sabbath meant to me. I rode to the visitations on the pastor’s motorcycle. This was quite an adventure as we went up and down steep hills and drove very close to other cars. We also rode in the rain on the way home to the hotel from the first visit. Therefore, on my first motorcycle ride, I got to ride in the rain and in a foreign country with a different type of traffic!

There were several new experiences, but I got to experience the friendship that I experience with Seventh-day Adventists here at home. We sang together and talked and laughed together even though we didn’t understand the same language. They fed me so much, that sometimes I about thought they were trying to feed two people. Even though I was excited about coming home, at the end of the meetings I realized how much I was going to miss these people. I was proud of the Makarios church, the church with which I had first experiences in training for the Ministry.
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